The ashtray says
You were up all night
When you went to bed
With your darkest mind
Your pillow wept
And covered your eyes
And you finally slept
While the sun caught fire

You've changed

We fell in love
In the key of see
We walked along
Down by the sea
You followed me down
The neck to D
And fell again
Into the sea

You changed
Oh, you've changed

Maybe all I need is a shot in the arm
Maybe all I need is a shot in the arm
Maybe all I need is a shot in the arm
Maybe all I need is a shot in the arm
Maybe all I need is a shot in the arm
Maybe all I need is a shot in the arm
Maybe all I need is a shot in the arm
Something in my veins bloodier than blood
Something in my veins bloodier than blood
Something in my veins bloodier than blood
Something in my veins bloodier than blood

The ashtray says
You were up all night
When you went to bed
With your darkest mind

You changed
Oh, you've changed

What you once were isn't what you want to be any more
What you once were isn't what you want to be any more
What you once were isn't what you want to be any more
What you once were isn't what you want to be any more
What you once were isn't what you want to be any more


Lyrics submitted by Spacecow

A Shot in the Arm Lyrics as written by Jay Bennett Jeff Tweedy

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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A Shot in the Arm song meanings
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36 Comments

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  • +3
    General Comment

    i just like the first two lines, such a way to say them

    wilcokidon October 27, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    contrary to many peoples idea of a sort of heroin addiction theme, a "Shot in the arm" can also mean a spot of encouragement or a pep talk. What he may have been thinking is that he needs encouragement, now, to love the woman, even though she has drastically changed from the girl he fell in love with to the restless, more guilty, and nervous woman that she is now. This song always makes me think of "I'm Looking Through You" by the Beatles, which is also about a girl who changed, perhaps this song gave some inspiration to Wilco's "A Shot in the Arm?"

    QueenPoon May 28, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I agree with Kid.

    I love the line "We fell in love/to the key of C" The Key C is natural-- there aren't any sharps or flats. I guess the only other natural key is A minor, and... that's minor. It's sad sounding, so... I guess they wouldn't have fallen in love to A minor.

    Great images. "And you finally slept/While the sun caught fire."

    Greyshoeson December 16, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Um- if it's not about drugs explain the "something in my veins, bloodier than blood." Heroin would be something in your veins bloodier than blood, sort of. But actually maybe that works with couldBanyone's idea. Like she's so changed even her blood is different. Maybe?

    Sarahluvsu182on March 21, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    This song about what it's like just to be a kid. You should have fun as a kid.

    boywiththorninsideon July 11, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I've always thought this song was about two people in a relationship who are addicted to drugs, then one of them (her) wants to get clean, so she is getting ready to leave him. The references to walking by the sea and falling into the sea seem pretty clear to me, that is often how heroine addicts describe the feeling of getting high.

    bigwilcofanon November 28, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    About a herion addiction. The repetition of the phrases really emphasizes the severity of the addiction. The song ends on the lines

    ' What you once were isn't what you want to be anymore '

    Seems like he's trying his hardest to overcome the addiction and move on.

    Such a damn good song though!

    leonperkinon October 17, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    You should all download the live version from Kazaa. Search for Jeff Tweedy. He plays it with such passion, solo acoustic.

    reefpaddleron December 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I think it's odd that someone thinks this is about addiction. The 'shot in the arm' stuff seems to be more metaphor than straight truth. I don't know, just my opinion. Great song though.

    imajaron February 18, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Imajar is correct, this isn't about heroin addiction. Think a little deeper: What exactly does he want "shot in his arm." Yes it conjures images of drugs, but what he wants is some kind of substance injected into his system that will allow him to love this woman again. She has changed from her previous self. He cannot love this changed person without help from some fantasy injection. The first stanzas simply articulate how this woman feels terrible about what has happened.

    couldBanyoneon March 09, 2006   Link

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